Some seals trapped by ice removed from beleaguered town, officials say

Some seals trapped by ice removed from beleaguered town, officials say

A coastal town in Newfoundland, Canada, is struggling with some unusual invaders - seals.

Fitzgerald says it's not uncommon to see a handful of the whiskered mammals in her town, which is perched on an inlet at the edge of the frigid North Atlantic. According to experts, the speed at which the bay froze may have disoriented the seals and made them move in the opposite direction of the waters. Two have been struck and killed by vehicles, and there is worry that the others may starve.

Roddickton-Bide Arm, on the island of Newfoundland, calls itself the "Moose Capital of the World".

The animals seem more lethargic now than when they first arrived in the town, she said, and appear to be travelling further out from the brooks, potentially in search of something to eat.

The seals also bite, and Fitzgerald said she is anxious about children getting too close.

"There's not enough food in that little water supply", she added.

However, Stenson said that harp seals are accustomed to going for stretches without feeding, and at this time of year should have built up their energy reserves in preparation for breeding.

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One local resident, Brendan Fitzpatrick, who usually tweets pictures about hunting and of scenes around the town, has begun calls on social media for Canada's federal Fisheries Department to intervene.

Jolene Garland said police believe it was the same seal because of similarities in photos taken on both days it was reported.

"This is disturbing for the residents to watch", Fitzgerald said.

Although harp seals are generally not aggressive, they will defend themselves if humans get too close.

Garry Stenson, lead scientist for the department's marine mammals section, said officials were in Roddickton on Wednesday to count the animals and assess the conditions before coming up with a new plan.

Residents have expressed concern the seals may be hurt by curious onlookers or by wandering into roads, but people are in a bind because it is against the law to touch or move the animals. "Nobody wants to see any animal suffer".

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